Many households in the United States have low income and mostly find it difficult to afford phones and plans to communicate with their friends and relatives. The government knows about this, and that is why they have programs to assist people with free devices and cheap plans. I suppose you want to know how to get a free government phone and tablet. Well, you are at the right place where you will get adequate information about free devices.
As we shall see, you need to be really needed to get government assistance. You are automatically eligible for the program if you earn below the federal poverty line guideline of below or at 135%. We will also see other ways you can qualify for the government-free phone and tablet program. Most aid programs give you a direct ticket to government help when you present proof.
The majority of people are not happy that government aid to needy households usually goes to one person. If you are three in a household, only one of you will get the aid. Again, once you register successfully, you cannot transfer your program to someone else. However, you can transfer your account from one service provider to the other. If you cease to use your service, the service provider might give your account to someone else.
How does it work?
The federal government through the Lifeline program allows people from low-income families to apply for free phones and tablets to use for their daily communication needs. Individual students may also apply to use in their studies. When applying, you have to fill an application form and pass the eligibility criteria. The aid program not only gives free phones and tablets but also free computers.
You need to note that non-governmental organizations also team up with the government to offer free phones and tablets. Therefore, the initiative is big, thanks to thousands of generous Americans ready to help the needy. Since the eligibility rules for getting a free government device are strict, you may be needy and not get one.
In such an event, a non-governmental organization will come to your aid. You need to have the following before you start applying for any free government smartphones, tablets, or computers.
- A photo ID Proof
- Income proof/ student information
- Contact details
- Residence proof
- Income proof or salary slip
- Eligibility proof document
Documents to prove that your income is below the federal government poverty level include the following.
- A Social Security statement of benefits
- A retirement/pension statement of benefits
- Federal or tribal letter of participation in General Assistance
- A Veteran Administration statement of benefits
- An Unemployment/Workmen’s Compensation statement of benefits
- The prior year’s state, federal, or tribal tax return
Some of the eligibility proof documents include any of the following. Most of them require a dated letter showing current eligibility.
- Adult & Child Mental Health Case Management
- Extended Foster Care
- Employment Services (only if income-based in your state)
- Federal Pell Grant
- Financial Assistance, such as TANF, GA, etc.
- Medicaid or Medical Assistance
- Section 8, Federal Public Housing Assistance, or Group Residential
- Food Support
- Head Start
- Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- Housing (GRH)
- Social Security Disability (SSD)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- The National School Lunch Program’s Free or Reduced Lunch Program
Generally, you can qualify through other federal government aid programs due to some type of disability or based on your total household income (if your current income is under 135% of the federal poverty level.
Once you have all these, you can visit the relevant website for your state and begin your application. Since the eligibility requirements may slightly differ from state to state, it is crucial to check with your local agencies for any additional requirements. There are free phones and tablets every year, and you should always keep an eye on the specific dates that the government launches such programs.
When your application goes through, you will receive your free gadget at the address you provided. You should therefore be very keen when keying in your details.
The Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB)
This is one of the recent aid programs to get an EBB free tablet, a smartphone, or a computer. When Covid’19 struck the world, many people became jobless since companies and organizations closed down to control the spread of the disease. Therefore, there was a need by the federal government to help such people to get cheap communications plans and gadgets where possible.
Generally, the EBB program aims to support families who cannot afford internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people were also forced to work at home using phones, tablets, and computers, which they were not used to before. The program gives beneficiaries up to a $50 per month discount towards broadband service for eligible citizens (one per household) and up to $75 per month for households on the qualifying Tribal lands. One also gets a discount of up to $100 to purchase a tablet or computer from any participating service provider.
You can apply for the EBB program from the FCC website or any eligible service providers. Remember that even people in the Lifeline program can apply for the program and get additional help from the government. The eligibility requirements are similar to those of the Lifeline program.
Where do I check my eligibility for a free phone and tablet?
You can check if you are eligible for any government aid programs by visiting the National Verifier application system, a centralized system created by the FCC and run by USAC. Its work is to verify Lifeline applicants’ eligibility and recertification of subscriber eligibility.
Once you find out that you are eligible for any service provider, you can locate the nearest service provider by hitting on “Companies Near Me.
Who are the service providers for the free Government phones and tablets?
Numerous service providers are giving free phones and tablets plus affordable plans. Some of the best service providers include the following.
1) QLink wireless
Q Link Wireless is one of the best service providers for free government phones and tablets via the Lifeline program. The company also offers free unlimited data and free unlimited talk & text. You can also bring your phone & number and get a new tablet. You can also use your free plans with QLink wireless free tablets and more so if they accept SIM cards.
2) Assurance Wireless
Assurance Wireless is another free government phone and tablet provider at no cost. The company also has free plans that you can use with your free phones and tablets to better your life. Plans include free plans, free minutes, and an internet connection.
3) Assist Wireless
You can opt to get your free phone or tablet through Assist Wireless, where you will get other services such as free minutes to call, free SMS, and free internet to surf your favorite sites. The qualification process is just the same as all other lifeline providers.
4) Cintex Wireless
If you qualify for the Lifeline program, you will get a free smartphone loaded with FREE unlimited voice call minutes and unlimited SMS plus 4.5GB of data. You can apply online at Cintex Wireless as long as you have the requirements. The company operates in Arkansas, Maine, Rhode Island, and West Virginia.
5) Life Wireless
If you are lucky to qualify for the government Lifeline program, you can choose Life Wireless as your service provider. Here, you will get a free smartphone and a free monthly cell phone service which includes free minutes, free SMS, and some free data for internet connection. You can receive up to 30GB of free data to browse your favorite sites.
6) Safelink Wireless
Safelink is one of the oldest Lifeline service providers that has been offering free phones and cheap data plans. If you are eligible for the government Lifeline program, you can enroll online at the company’s website to get started.
What if I do not qualify for a government aid program?
Like I mentioned earlier, government qualification criteria are usually very strict. But that is not the end of getting a free tablet. You can get free phones and tablets from non-governmental organizations within your state and proceed with life.
Some of the organizations that give you free devices include the following.
i) Computers For Learning
The company distributes free refurbished tablets and computers to needy students to use for their learning activities. It usually moves around schools, universities, and colleges looking for eligible students.
ii) Komputers 4 Kids
The Komputers 4 Kids is an organization that collects old computers and tablets and refurbishes them to help needy kids with their education.
The organization helps needy students with PCs and tablets to use in their education. To get a free device, you must be ready to dedicate your 10 hours of community service. The organization not only assists students but low-income families, senior citizens, as well as disabled people.
The organization provides refurbished devices to eligible applicants. You can be lucky to get a phone or tablet for free.
Here, you can get free government laptops and tablet application forms to apply for your free device. The organization also recycles devices to give to eligible people.
The organization offers free tablets and laptops with the help of the government. The organization also collaborates with non-governmental organizations to offer free devices to eligible citizens. Eligibility varies from state to state, and thus you have to confirm with your local administration whether you qualify.
What if I am not eligible for any free device?
You may not qualify for a free phone and tablet from the government or non-governmental organization. You might have applied for an Assurance Wireless free tablet or phone but to no avail. That is not the end. You can approach some of your able friends to help you with your application. If you are a student, you may even approach your parents or church leaders, and you can be lucky to get a device.
All in all, there are various cheap devices that you can purchase and still get connected to. They include the following.
- Google Pixel 4a
- iPhone SE
- Moto G Power
- Galaxy A32 5G
- TCL 10 5G UW
- Moto G Stylus
- OnePlus Nord N200 5G
If you are capable of buying a tablet, any of the following devices can work.
- Apple iPad 10.2 (2019)
- Amazon Fire HD 8 (2020)
- Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.5
- Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus (2020)
- Amazon Fire HD 10 (2019)
What are the restrictions for Lifeline?
Even though you can get free phones, tablets, and free plans, you need to understand some restrictions to avoid any inconveniences. For example, you cannot get a lifeline benefit if any of your household members have enrolled in the program.
Additionally, you can only get one device upon application. You cannot get a phone and a tablet at the same time. The devices are limited, and since many others are in need, there must be a limitation. Furthermore, you cannot choose a phone or tablet for yourself. You will only get the available device from your service provider.
Moreover, you cannot transfer the aid program to anyone else, not even a member of your household. Therefore, if the others in your household require the services, they can benefit through you. Again, if you stay without using the service for a particular duration, it may be transferred to someone else.
Can I upgrade my free phone or tablet?
Upgrading a device refers to getting a phone, tablet, or computer with better specifications for better services. You can upgrade for a better device. However, most carriers will always charge you if you upgrade your device to a newer one. If you get a free device from a charity organization, you may not upgrade it.
The United States government has a plan that benefits people from low-income households to get free phones and tablets via various service providers. The Lifeline program plus the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) are some government programs that offer free phones, tablets, and free monthly plans. You must meet the eligibility criteria for you to get a free government device.